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SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
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Wild life watching.
Unesco World Natural Heritage Site.
Unesco Biosphere Reserve.
Natural National Heritage.
National protected area.
OPENING HOURS (or DATE if it is an event)
Monday to sunday, from 06h00 to 18h00.
Here we tell you about 5 options to observe the giant tortoises of Galapagos (Geochelone elephantopus), which give their name to the islands because their shell resembles a Spanish saddle or giant tortoise. This is one of the two species that Charles Darwin took as an example to pose his theory "The Origin of Species", published in 1859. The other specimen were the finches.
In the Galapagos Islands there is only one species of giant turtle divided into 15 subspecies. Only 10 have viable populations inhabiting at least 6 islands and 5 subspecies to this day are considered extinct, including the tortoise of Pinta Island (G. e. Abingdoni). The last specimen was Solitario (Lonesome) George, who died on June 24, 2012 at the age of 103.
The subspecies are distributed among the islands of San Cristóbal, Española, Santa Cruz, Pinzón, Isabela (Cerro Azul Volcano, Sierra Negra Volcano, Alcedo Volcano, Darwin Volcano, Wolf Volcano) and Santiago Island.
The most visited nature reserves and private breeding centers of the islands are located on Santa Cruz Island, at a short distance from the town of Isidro Ayora Port. One of them is the Giant Tortoise Reserve el Chato, formerly a farm currently dedicated to the tourist activity. El Chato is now part of a protected area constantly visited by the turtles. A complementary activity on the site is the walk through a lava tunnel. El Chato's turtles are in wild state, making their observation more attractive to visitors.
Some others points of visit to see turtles in their natural state are Rancho Manzanillo and Rancho Primicias, also located in Santa Cruz Island. On San Cristobal Island there is the Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado and on Isabela Island there is a breeding center of the Galapagos National Park.
ADDRESS OR VENUE
Isidro Ayora Port, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos Islands